There has been a castle on the site since 1388 it was built by John Hawley the then mayor of Dartmouth who was possibly the inspiration for Chaucer's shipman in the Canterbury Tales. The site consists of The C15th Gun Tower and a C19 Old Battery and Guardroom. Dartmouth has only fallen to a land attack and was the first castle in the country to be designed for Artillery use.
Place: Dartmouth Castle
Date: 27th May 2006
Time: 1800 hrs - 0030 hrs
May 27, 2006 6:26 AM
Percent of Full: 0%
Rise: 4:45 AM
Set: 10:22 PM
2.4 Ghz Channel 1.
Time: 1805 bst
O/s temp: 63.5 f
Humidity: 72 %
Barometric pressure: 1018 mb
Weather conditions: humid and damp – rain at times during day wind gusting 5-10 knots – SS/E VARIABLE.
Moon state: dark /new
Solar state: normal
Visibility 2- 3 miles
RF status – max signal in area 503.72 MHz – TV.
General comments: castle faces sea/river mouth and is backed by steep wooded hill – this may have some bearing on perceived wind direction at ground level.
Team A: TL: Byron, Gill, Robin Whitcombe, Danielle Russell, Stephanie, Jamie Windeatt, (EH Representative).
Team B: TL: Dave, Jay, Robin, Wendy Howe, Rachel Rawling, Shannel Hart.
Team C: TL: Sam, Bridget, Lucy P, Paul S, Dave Lidstone,
Tech Team: TL Brett, Francina and Brian
A: Victorian Guard Room
B: Casement areas
D: Chain Room / Old Tower
The Technical Team carried out a complete baseline survey on the entire site their report has been included and can be referenced under the Technical team reference below. Capacitor experiments together with trigger alarms were also set in various areas and barrier alarms set.
Mark Hartshorn kindly agreed to assist us at Dartmouth and he carried out a walk around all areas prior to the arrival of the team. Mark found the most active areas to be the Victorian Gun battery and the Old Tower. In the Victorian Battery he sensed 3 males who were happy and in good spirit whilst a lone female (medieval period) was sensed in the chain room of the old tower. Mark also sensed two males on the tower roof who apparently were not happy with the teams presence.
Mark was later utilised again for a medium ship walk with some of the team and visited some of the teams whilst in early vigils. We would like to thank him for his assistance and we look forward to seeing him again.
Team A: Casements 2000 hrs - 2100hrs
Nothing really to report from this area and although dark and extremely confined most of what was felt was certainly subjective.
Guardroom 2100 hrs - 2200 hrs
The area was as Mark had suggested devoid of any activity.
Old Tower 2200 hrs - 2300 hrs
The group split with Byron and Rob remaining in the vicinity of the chain room whilst the ladies carried out a vigil on the upper floor. Sam detected a young child however no name was offered. Unfortunately the Tower was not as active as others had found it earlier.
Victorian Battery 2300 hrs - 0001 hrs
Although a little disheartened with the previous negative results that soon changed. The Battery was certainly "different" the atmosphere felt "heavier" and somewhat oppressive. A series of vigils carried out at either end of the room met with some excellent results. Sam and Stephanie carried out a joint vigil at the entrance area and were certainly surprised to hear a large "bang" in response to Byron's request for a sign! Byron searched the area however nothing was found that could had inadvertently caused the noise. More was to come when around 2330 hrs an excellent audible was heard by ALL members of the group - which sounded like a "rasping breath".
Additional calling out really paid of with results with our English Heritage representative being provided with possibly the loudest and clearest audible that I have ever heard. On questioning the EH representative she said that she that the sound had come from her left side - there was no one to her left which left her slightly bemused. We hope that we MAY have captured the audible on DVD but we have yet to play back.
Whilst it is appreciated that the area was dark and some in the team were a little "jumpy" the audible's were very real and we have been unable to give a explanation to them.
Team B: Gunnery 2000 hrs - 2100 hrs
The team witnessed many orbs and strange lights in the Victorian Battery area. Trace experienced some discomfort in the area and stated that a male presence was very close to her she states:
"A male presence was felt at the far end in the corner, I stood in the corner and felt icy cold, prickly, tingly and there was a distinct cold breeze. My main experience was one of feeling anxious, agitated, and emotional, I almost left on a couple of occasions, couldn't stop pacing up and down and the medium believed I had a male spirit with me. The spirit hated war and killing and was not given any choice in his recruitment to soldiering"
Mark assisted Steph in order to relieve her discomfort.
The Casements 2100 hrs - 2200 hrs
Nothing significant to report.
The Guardroom 2200 hrs - 2300 hrs
The 1st - 45 minutes were relatively quiet however it become very dark and the atmosphere shifted making everyone feel more uncomfortable with their surroundings. Both Jay and Dave picked up on a spirit person circling the group - The team were pleased to leave.
The Old Tower 2300 hrs - 0001 hrs
Jay had picked up on a women who was alleged to have thrown herself off the tower. Steph and Jay visited the tower however Steph had to come down after feeling "giddy" and feeling like she was falling - This was also felt by another group member. The group began a vigil on the upper floor where the door to the roof began to rattle despite there being very little wind. Trace though that she heard a male and female voice on the roof - despite there being no one on the roof at the time. Trace had her hair "touched" and several small noises were heard.
Team C: Old Tower 2000 - 2100 hrs
The Old Tower was the first port of call. They entered the main level where we stayed for about 15 mins. Several team members experienced a swaying motion. Paul set up his video camera and immediately began capturing orb movements. Several orbs were also captured on digital camera by the other team members. At 8.20 pm Paul noticed the Trigger objects had already moved slightly, possibly indicating activity. Bridget did some dowsing and picked up on 2 males who worked there and were grounded, but didn't die there. The team split into smaller groups and when Lucy went upstairs she heard a tapping noise on one of the barrels. Numerous orbs captured on cameras from all four levels of the tower.
Gunnery 2100 hrs - 2200 hrs
Here, all team members felt an oppressive atmosphere. Some experienced feelings of a tightness about them, except at the far end where Vee said it felt very jovial like the men were having a good time. Bridget dowsed again and got the number of 12 males who worked and slept there, all were grounded spirits. At 9.30 pm whilst the team were at the far end of the room they all felt suddenly cold in that area when it hadn't been that cold before.
Lots of orbs detected specifically in this area, although many orbs were captured both on film and digital camera in all areas of the room. Lucy sat near the gun at the door (The same area that Steph from team B had been seated) but then she felt tearful and had to leave the room for a while to compose herself. At this time, which was about 9.50 pm, Sam observed a mist near the middle gun, as Bridget focused to see the mist she observed a shadow moving in front of the gun. On moving over to the area of the shadow a swirling coldness was felt by both of them. During this time Lucy had re-entered the room and when Bridget went to check if she was alright, found her sitting in the first area of the gunnery with eyes closed, tears coming down her cheeks and breathing in a very distressed manner. The team managed to bring Lucy round and this is her account:- "I was feeling upset and emotional, it got so much for me so I stepped out. When I came back I felt really dizzy and I sat back down. I started to breathe heavy and I felt like I was going into a deep sleep and my chest was getting really painful. I could hear Bridget say my name but it was really distanced."
The Casements 2200 hrs - 2300 hrs
Here the team felt absolutely nothing in the room at the end of the corridor. Paul positioned his video camera to point down the corridor and filmed several orbs at various times in the corridor. Nothing was captured in the room. Also in the corridor Bridget saw an orb with her naked eye. All the team agreed that the room in the casements felt flat.
The Guardroom 2300 hrs - 0001 hrs
Initially much orb activity caught on camera and video, (mainly in the area of the door) however nothing much else occurred and the team 'felt' nothing. Lucy and Sam heard rustling of papers, coming from the area around the table in the enclosed part of the room.
Technical Team: The Guardroom 2000 hrs - 2100 hrs
Following the setting up of experiments and attendance at the briefing we started our investigation in the guard room: as it was still light nothing was observed – but Francina connected with a spirit: below is what she wrote and notes added from further research:
Phillip Edwards : army : aged 23 years date : April 4 1943 - single : - father not happy with his choice – wanted him to stay working in bakery – Phillip looking for something else ( in life ?? ) – dark – slim – shy – (lonely ?? ) good looking - presence felt initially behind me then to side on bench - chatted about things in general – Dartmouth born – smoker – offered me one ( cigarette ?? ) – serious minded – shy in initially contacting me – profession baker – family based – 2 sisters – brother – older –in Burma – sensed : enlisted soldiers drinking from chipped mugs ( enamel ?? ) – Others laughing and chatting - Phillip been in army 18 months – in “dads army “before – gunner – two stripes (corporal /)
Above are verbatim transcript of notes made at time – Fran also heard 2 clicks -unexplained and some EVP like the sound of doors being slammed was recorded
Subsequent research has shown that the castle was occupied by 363 then 361 coast battery R.A of 556 coast regiment manning various guns the first of which was located in the now EH ticket office – other accounts say that “marines “manned the castle (although by 12 y/o boy) information has also been found by searching for wartime memories – and continues as we are keen to see if any of above can be substantiated.
The Old Tower - 2100 hrs - 2200 hrs
Fran sensed presence of civil war soldier – royalist - an active spirit - felt he would probably be seen if someone there all night – also felt presence watching us on the middle floor – orbs photographed by Brett. – Including curious green one by /near suit of armour – (see photos on disk)
Would like to have spent longer in this area: evp of what sounds like a breath near camera recorded.
The Gunnery - 2200 hrs - 2300 hrs
Moving on to the gun battery - this proved to be a very active area – Fran and Brian sensed some sort of “pitched battle “ in the rooms - light anomalies where seen by all of us though I did not see as much as others said was happening – picked up on deaths in the rooms – which was interesting as neither had been told the “confidential “ information imparted to me by B.J previously sparkles and spirit lights detected by Fran and Brian in all areas but mainly in first area near main doors/cannons
In the middle area not much was detected although a “presence “–referred to the odd microwave frequency detected in the baseline report – this had disappeared and remains unexplained –
In the far /back area – Fran saw spirit lights and says she senses a “dark “entity
Interestingly later reports of someone breathing in the EH rep‘s (holly’s) ear may be backed up by EVP on video taken in this area and later played back – along with sounds like cannon firing – which none of us heard at the time – it was considered by all to be an active area – possible “replay “activity and maybe some active spirit presence.
The Casements - 2300 hrs - 0001 hrs
Generally quiet although both Fran and Brett observed a large “plasma ball “ type orb shoot across the ceiling with the naked eye.
A very interesting location and one that will be worthy of a follow up visit. The majority of the team came away having experienced something but was it paranormal? The casement area and the guardroom where generally disappointing however the remainder of the site was excellent. The Victorian Battery proved to be the most active and for the most part had a quite oppressive atmosphere. The series of audiles' heard were excellent and the fact that a rather sceptical EH representative also heard probably the loudest was extremely satisfying (Sorry Holly). Within the Old Tower many of the groups felt "giddy" and experienced a swaying motion could this have been subjective as the area is very close to sea level or was it something else. On our pre visit to Dartmouth a representative had assured us the Dartmouth was not haunted - we are now not so sure and certainly there was some good evidence to suggest the opposite.